Common Name Cloud Penguin Kingdom ANIMALIA phylum CHORDATA Class AVES Order SPHENISCIFORMES Family SPHENISCIDAE Genus Eudyptes Species Eudyptes Nebulae
Characteristics The cloud penguin is a member of the animal kingdom. It has an internal skeleton (where the bones are hollow) with a central backbone. It is warm blooded, breathes air and reproduces by laying eggs. The cloud penguin has two wings, two feet and a body covering made up of feathers. It also has a distinctive beak . These characteristics help place the Cloud penguin in the class aves (birds).
APPEARANCE Cloud penguins are mid-sized, being 46 to 75 cm in length and 3.6 to 6 kg in weight. They are a little smaller than most other penguin species . Distinctive marks are the white ring surrounding the eye and the feathers at the base of the bill. These long feathers hide most of the red bill. The tail is a little longer than other penguins' tails as it aids in steering during flight and acts as a rudder when swimming. Their appearance is closest to the stereotypical image of penguins as they have a mostly black with a white belly which looks somewhat like a tuxedo. The Cloud penguin has long powerful wings which are tapered to flippers in the water and cut through the air allowing the bird to fly. The penguin also has a pair of feet which contain oversized webbed talons that are 10 to 15 cm in length.
Sharp beak for catching fish. Nostrils contain air sacs and valves that close to keep out water when diving Powerful wings that allow the cloud penguin to fly as well as move through the water with ease Sharp talons for gripping prey and also for perching on ice in winter and tree limbs in summer Tail acts as a rudder in both The water and during flight Smooth layer of feathers over an insular layer of fat help keep the cloud penguin warm in Winter and cool in Summer. Feathers also aid in allowing streamlined flight and movement through water Features of the Cloud Penguin
HABITS AND ADAPTATIONS Like all penguins, the Cloud Penguin is highly social, foraging and nesting in groups. Smooth layer of feathers over an insular layer of fat help keep the cloud penguin warm in winter and cool in summer. The feathers also aid in allowing streamlined flight and movement through water. Cloud penguins can both fly and swim with speeds up to 45 km per hour. This penguin is highly adapted as it is the only penguin capable of flight. It has powerful wings that allow the cloud penguin to fly as well as move through the water with ease. Their large tail acts as a rudder in both the water and during flight. The cloud Penguin possesses specialized nostrils that contain air sacs that store oxygen and valves that close to keep out water when diving. This allows he penguin to stay under water or up to 30 minutes at a time. This penguin feeds mainly on small fish but will also eat other crustaceans, and squid when in the water. When in the jungle they are also known to eat small lizards and insects which they capture with their sharp beaks. They possess a pointy beak and sharp webbed talons for gripping prey. Their talons are also excellent for perching on ice in winter and tree limbs in summer. The Cloud penguin’s ability to fly allows it to migrate to warmer climates in the summer months where there is an abundance of food and warmer weather to raise their young, then back to the antartic where migrating fish are plentiful. The main predators of the cloud penguin are leopard seals, skua (a large sea bird) in the winter months and large snakes in the summer habitats.
Life Cycle Cloud penguins usually begin to migrate to their breeding grounds breeding in early July. The breeding occurs in late July. They assemble in small colonies and nest in the roots below large Kapok trees. The males attract a female by clapping its wings above its head making a large clap. The louder the clap the more likely the male is to be chosen. Two eggs are laid in early August and are incubated by both parents in long shifts, hatching in 33 to 37 days. The young are covered in soft green and brown feathers which help them blend into the forest floor. After hatching, chicks are guarded by the male and fed by the female for up to 25 days and then gather in small crèches until they are ready to go to sea at about 60 to 70 days old. At this time they resemble adult penguins. The young penguins are taught to fly by being pushed off tall rocks along the coasts. Penguins leave their breeding colony by October to November flying back to the Antarctic regions where they winter at this time the chicks are independent enough to head off on their own. Cloud penguins are thought to live between ten and 15 years in the wild.
HABITAT The cloud penguin migrates the 1200 km between Chile and the northern tip of Antarctic twice a year. Leaving the Antarctic in late June arriving in the Chilean jungles in July where they mate and raise their young before returning to the Antarctic in November. They are at home both in water and in the jungle using their talons and webbed feet for both swimming , clutching and perching in trees. In the Antarctic Cloud penguins live in rocky, water-bound areas, on rocks and cliffs above the ocean. When in the jungle they perch in small branches just above the forest floor or nestle in the roots of the kapok trees.
DID YOU KNOW… Rising sea-surface temperatures as a result of global warming are also expected to threaten the cloud penguin’s food supply by causing a decrease in prey abundance and driving prey further away from coastal areas. Cloud penguins are also threatened by fisheries interactions and oil pollution. Certain tribes of the chilean rainforest hunt the cloud penguin and use the bones to scatter around loved ones after death to help them float up to the heavens.
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